I started my blog three years ago, back in the summer of 69 (#joke, it was 2012). I don’t know why anyone started to read it and I still don’t really think anyone does (although my google analytics tell me otherwise). Now, it has grown and developed and I make a living from it. It’s a business and a passion and it allows me more time to blog, attend press launches and carry out interviews. This is why it upsets me when people say negative things about the blogging world. Blogs are actually becoming the future.
A theatre director (currently with a show in the West End) once said to me “I don’t invite bloggers like you to my shows because you aren’t worth the free wine I have to give out for the five people that might read your review”. I was flattered that he assumed five people cared about what I write but in reality he was shooting himself in the foot with that small minded way of thinking and will be losing out on a lot of potential press coverage with bloggers.
Mark Shenton, who yesterday published an article about critics who reviewed Hamlet after its first preview (instead of waiting for the official press night) said:
“No fewer than three major national papers broke the usual respect for embargoes on reviewing before the press night and behaved like bloggers, filing reviews straight after the first preview”.
After a twitter storm of unhappy comments from rule abiding bloggers, the line was amended to ‘some’ bloggers. However still making a point that bloggers are seen as a lower class to the official critics.
The power of blogging is growing and it isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. The Theatre Royal Newcastle recently told me:
“We don’t generally offer review tickets to online publications, as we find so many of our ticket-buying audience review on their own websites or blogs anyway.”
It’s great to hear that they don’t feel the need to invite online bloggers to review their shows as so many are doing it themselves anyway (although I do think their strategy is wrong as some bloggers can get much more coverage than others do and these should be selected to invited in for press nights). Either way, they seem happy with the coverage they receive from bloggers which is great to hear.
Everybody has to start somewhere. And to be honest whether you have studied journalism and worked for a major newspaper or just started blogging in your bedroom it doesn’t matter. What we have to remember is we all have a passion for theatre. And if you write reviews and people read them on your blog (or they don’t), who is it hurting? The critics perhaps as they are losing their jobs with national press and maybe blaming the blogging revolution.
Embrace the change I say. The world is changing and so change with it. Don’t fight it. Bloggers, Critics and everything in between. We are creative human beings doing something we love. How marvellous!
West End Wilma